Trump blesses a controversial push to teach Bible literacy in public schools
On Monday, “Fox & Friends” interviewed North Dakota Rep. Aaron McWilliams (R). He’s one of the co-sponsors for a bill that would allow Bible classes in public schools in his state.
A few minutes after the episode aired, President Donald Trump tweeted his support for the controversial legislation. Critics have deemed the bill as “unconstitutional.”
President Donald Trump’s tweet read:
“Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!”
Numerous states introducing Bible Literacy classes, giving students the option of studying the Bible. Starting to make a turn back? Great!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 28, 2019
On “Fox & Friends” North Dakota Rep. Aaron McWilliams spoke about the bill saying, “There’s a separation of church and state, but there’s not a separation of books from education.”
Rep. Aaron McWilliams argues that unless public schools allow Bible classes (or “the Quran, or any other religious text,”) we wind up “establishing a religion of secularism within our school by not having anything else.” pic.twitter.com/UlGh5ZLCKG— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) January 28, 2019
He added that unless schools allowed classes about religious texts, the state would end up “establishing a religion of secularism within our school by not having anything else.” McWilliams believed that the classes would educate students about important historical texts.
The Trump administration is once again weaponizing religious freedom to pander to the Religious Right’s agenda of exclusion and discrimination. Sad. https://t.co/Y4INsU1dqs— Rachel Laser (@rachelklaser) January 25, 2019
However, civil groups like the ACLU have argued that the bill would encroach upon the separation of church and state. Trump commenting on the proposed act was strange as he’s never spoken about it before and nor has he included prayer as part of his agenda.
The legislation is the product of “an initiative called Project Blitz coordinated by conservative Christian political groups.” Last year, such bills were introduced in North Dakota, Missouri, Indiana, West Virginia, Virginia, and Florida.
Something something “separation of church and state”... I’m sure I read that somewhere...— Van Badham (@vanbadham) January 28, 2019
In a statement, Rachel Laser, CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and States, said:
"State legislators should not be fooled that these bills are anything more than part of a scheme to impose Christian beliefs on public schoolchildren."
That's nice and all, but I suggest US Constitution literacy class for every elected official. You included.— Kevin Tinney (@kevinetinney) January 29, 2019
In 2017, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed into law a bill that allowed public schools to add Bible literacy classes. However, when Alabama, Iowa, and West Virginia proposed a similar bill they failed.
In a bizarre incident that occurred two weeks before Christmas, an Oklahoma family lost their truck to a fire but their Bible was left untouched. Steven Gaut’s Bible from when he was 13 was left in good shape.
They would’ve lost their house, which was just feet from the flames, too if the vehicle's horn didn’t honk.